The Perfect Yellow

The Perfect Yellow

The Perfect Yellow

My living room is now the most perfect, Provencal, mustard yellow … actually the color is called “Golden Pollen.” Since this is an old house, there are beautiful old oak moldings and window trim in this room, moldings that remind me of my grandmother’s farmhouse in Illinois (sadly torn down now, but it was really getting pretty unsafe), and against the yellow paint, they look even warmer and more lovely than they did before when the room was painted in 25-year-old flat off-white paint. And with a coat of fresh paint, the, shall we say, topographical element of my old plaster walls isn’t quite as noticeable. I like to think that the bumps and cracks and craters make it look old, European, Provencal or Tuscan … yeah, that’s the ticket.

But I forgot how horrible painting can be … it’s not like on Trading Spaces or Changing Rooms where they blithely walk in and start painting the walls, because on those shows they don’t seem to do any prep work at all. And let me say, the two days of prep work sucked. There is nothing creative or interesting about washing the ceiling and the walls with TSP. There is nothing creative or interesting about sanding down the many many cracks in the ceiling that you’ve spackled and getting horrible wallboard and joint compound dust in your eyes. What’s with that stuff? Forget the 100 feet of plastic I used to cover the whole room and seal it off from the other three rooms that constitute my house, I keep finding little pockets of wallboard and joint compound dust in odd places.

The next project is my office. I’ve picked a dark, raspberry magenta, which my brother thinks is awful but his Nice Girlfriend and I think will be swell. The ceiling and trim will be bright white, and I’m going to build bookcases for the back wall (2 tall, one short in the middle), and I ordered the tricky bits of the desk from Pottery Barn which I’ll top with a sheet of MDF, or perhaps a hollowcore door (which might be handy for running cords). The office is going to be tricky, as the walls are full of cracks and I have to build shelves in the closet, and the closet needs to be painted, and I need a new light fixture, and and and and and and … so I think I’ll have to hire some help. Of course, in a small town like this, hiring help tends to be seeing when my friend Robert, who is a brilliant fine art painter, but who is going through a rough patch because the economy sucks and no one is buying gorgeous oil-on-metal paintings, paintings that are just abstract enough that you can keep looking at them and looking at them, paintings so beautiful that if I didn’t really need a privacy fence for the south side of my property I would have bought one with the tiny bit of money that came through when Dreamworks renewed my movie option, but alas, I need a fence. But Robert is great fun, and needs some money, so I’ll wait and see what his schedule is like, and hire him to keep me company and paint my office a fabulous dark pink, a pink that will glow like the inside of a jewel box, a warm rich color for a cool northern room.

So last night, after pulling the masking tape off, and rolling up the plastic, and seeing how totally beautiful my room is, I had the Darling Brother (thanks for doing that second coat on the ceiling for me, I was running out of gas) and the Nice Girlfriend over for the usual Sunday night Family Dinner — roast chicken, potato gratin, and salad. The NG had another tough day with her Ex … and although we don’t want to violate the NG’s privacy over the internet, let’s just say any day your Ex comes in while you’re gone and takes the bed, well, it’s not a good day. So we had roast chicken, and a little wine, and sat in the living room and admired it, and all tried to look on the bright side. Her house is coming together, my house is coming together, she and the DB are coming together (downside, this makes the Ex so angry he takes the bed) but the upside is we all had a nice dinner, and sometimes a nice dinner in a pleasant room is enough.

It’s a year this week that I came out here and decided to go ahead with buying this house. A year ago this week that I took measurements and started dreaming that this might be possible. I never thought I’d have my own house. I never thought I’d have a room like this, where the furniture and the walls and the artwork all go together and don’t just look like they were assembled out of random parts. I never thought I’d find a nice town like this, where I can have both the quiet and solitude I need to get the work done, and good friends, a social life, a community. I am deeply deeply grateful.

Now, I have to stop obsessing about paint colors, and go back to the novel for another week.

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